Rep. Quigley on CNN: You Don't Stop an Investigation Halfway, You See It to Its Completion
SCIUTTO: A dire warning and a plea for bipartisanship, 44 former U.S. Senators, Republican and Democrat we should note, signing on to an open letter in The Washington Post. In it they warn current lawmakers of a tipping point in the U.S. as Robert Mueller finalizes his report and House Democrats prepare to investigate this President. Here is part of that letter. “It is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period… At other critical moments in our history, when constitution crises have threatened our foundations, it has been the Senate that has stood in defense our democracy. Today is once again such a time… we urge current and future senators to be steadfast and zealous guardians of our democracy by ensuring that partisanship or self-interest not replace national interest.” Let's discuss now with Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. He’s on the intelligence and appropriations committees. Congressman, thanks for taking the time this morning.
QUIGLEY: Good morning. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: This letter, it gives a noble message, an important one but not the first time we have heard one like this, if not from former lawmakers, from former national security officials, defense officials, but those messages have not sparked action. And you have seen a very partisan response, for instance in the last couple of days to the revelations from the Mueller and Cohen investigations. Why has this kind of urging from some very respected Republicans and Democrats not sparked change.
QUIGLEY: Yeah, I don't know that it will. It’s extraordinarily disappointing. I would only amend the letter to say, “We entered that dangerous period some time ago.” What’s disheartening for me is that those who have stepped up are those Republicans who are leaving, right? I mean, I appreciate Senator Flake's effort to get the bill on the floor to protect the Mueller investigation. Where are those who are sticking around? Where are their efforts to do this? Where are the equivalents of Senator McCain on the House Republican side? This is the time to step up. This is the extraordinary period of our life where the rule of law and our constitutional protections are at risk. We are learning each day of new threats to this. I think last week we saw for the first time witness tampering by tweets by the President of the United States. Now is the time to act.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you, because for Democrats you have a challenge coming up. It's been articulated by members of your party, Jerry Nadler, incoming Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said, listen, what he has seen so far looks like an impeachable offense specific to campaign finance violations or alleged violations, but that Democrats, it still might not be politically smart or wise for them to pursue impeachment against this President. Where do you stand on that? Or is the evidence you have seen so far, are those of impeachable offenses and would you then vote to impeach?
QUIGLEY: Look, I put it this way. I have told the Republicans that they need to let the Mueller investigation continue to its completion and restart the House investigation to find out exactly what took place and how to stop it in the future. I think it’s only fair for me to say to those in my own party, let the Mueller investigation complete its work. Let's get the complete round up. There are those who wanted to move forward with impeachment months ago, before we knew anything about the extraordinary details of the Cohen investigation, Manafort and General Flynn. Those were pretty breathtaking revelations that have taken place and there were those who wanted to go forward before we knew any of that. I think we have to be fair and consistent. We're going to take control of the House in January, and I believe it's incumbent upon us to work on a bipartisan basis or at least to offer to our Republican counterparts to do so. Then it’s up to them to act. Show the American public, “We’re going to be fair.”
SCIUTTO: From your perspective, because to be fair, you will have the majority. you have the ability to act on your own. The evidence you have seen so far, are those impeachable offenses by this President?
QUIGLEY: I’ll put it this way -- the President has abused his power. We have seen detailed accounts of the Trump financial and political world forging ties with a foreign adversary for their own political and financial gain. I believe there has been an effort, a conspiracy to work with Russians toward that end. I believe the President of the United States obstructed this investigation and others joined in that obstruction. And I believe my Republican counterparts were complicit in that obstruction. these are extraordinary statements, but I was a criminal defense attorney for ten years, I know that you don't stop an investigation halfway through because you think you have enough. You want to find out everything because you want to protect the American public, you want to inform the American public.